As I read the scriptures for today, I found there wasn't anything that spoke to me...at least not in a way that would allow me to write a blog...I went to sleep in hopes that the morning would bring a new insight, a profound inspiration of some kind...nothing came.
This morning I have to take care of some legal issues involving the probate of my Mom's will, and this "errand" reminds me that I have one foot in the Christmas season, and one foot in the camp of the grieving. This is my first time to experience the holidays with the pain of such a loss so fresh on my emotions, but I know that people all around me are experiencing the collision of Christmas joy and personal grief, so it seems important to acknowledge the reality of it.
I attended a church service on Sunday evening, a "Hanging of the Green" service where Christmas wreaths are hung, and Christmas carols are played and sung. It was a wonderful evening, and yet I cried through much of it. The songs of Christmas that my Mom loved most, and the pastor's welcome comments that referenced families gathered around the piano to sing Christmas carols...both pulled open the door of my heart, and tears rolled out. I wouldn't change the fact that I went, or the fact that I cried for much of the evening...through the tears and sadness of missing my Mom I still found a deep sense of joy in the season, and in all the memories my Mom helped to create...
When grief comes, and especially when it comes at the holiday season, it is good to know that you don't have to choose grief over joy...or joy over grief...perhaps like the prophet Isaiah says about the Lion and the Lamb, grief and joy can lay down together...it is possible to honor both, to give voice to both.
If you're grieving a loss of any kind this season, be kind to yourself...give yourself time to heal and recover, and perhaps, if you're able to bear it, give space for a little bit of Christmas joy. Giving voice to your joy will in no way dishonor your grief...but it might soften the painful edges...which could be a good thing.